Image: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins http://lww.com
It is useful to recognise key surface markings on the back as an aid to clinical examination. These are marked on the diagram above.
The following are convenient landmarks from which you can count up or down to determine the level of any back pain experienced by the patient:
- The levels of the vertebra prominens (spine of C7)
- Spine of the scapulae (spine of T7)
- Iliac crests (spine of L4)
In addition, locating the spine of L4 is handy when you are performing a lumbar puncture. The needle is usually inserted between the L3 and L4 interspace.
Text for this key-topic written by Shehla Baig.